The first thing you should do is check your car manual for how much car oil to use. Next, use ramps or jacks to lift your car, and use jack stands to brace it. Always refer to your manual for information how to position the jacks as improper placement can cause damage. If you’re going to go with ramps instead, use blocks to brace the rear tires, and ask a friend to spot you as drive your car on the ramps. The 12 steps below will help guide you when changing your car oil.
Turn the engine on and let it warm for a couple of minutes so the oil churns up and drains more easily. By allowing the engine to run you’ll be able to clean the crankcase and it’s also safer. This also ensures any particle, grime or dirt stuck at the bottom will move up.
While the car is idling, prepare the tools you’ll need: a pan, a new filter, new oil, flashlight and an adjustable wrench or two. You’ll also need some old newspapers to put under the pan.
Find the plug beneath the oil pan. The plug is the nut just below the engine, and depending on the car model, you may need to get under the car, but if you jacked it up there should be no problem getting to it. If you’re having trouble locating the pan, let your car run for 10 minutes as this will warm the plug up and make it easier to find.
Place a large container below the plug and position it in such a way that it will catch the dripping oil.
Remove the drain plug and let it drain in the container you put there.
Get a wrench and take off the cap on the oil filler. Remove the filter screws by twisting counterclockwise and take them off, making sure none of the oil residue spills over. Check the rubber seal for signs of oil and remove them.
Note: filter locations vary, so it could be on the engine’s side, front or back. You can check your car manual or the new filter you bought for an idea of where it could be. Most filters are cylindrical in shape, 4 to 6 inches long and either blue, white or black.
Let the filter empty in a pan and get another bottle of oil. Open it and dampen the gasket with a bit of the oil.
Screw the new filter in place and make sure that it’s tight. Make sure that the oil has completely dried out before you wipe the parts around the oil drain plug.
Get an adjustable wrench and put the drain plug back in place.
Pour the new oil into the filler slowly.
Put the filler cap back on and let the engine run for about a minute. Turn the engine off for 10 minutes to let the oil settle, and make sure the oil level is correct.
Take out the oil dipstick, clean it and put it back in. Remove and check again. Keep repeating this until you get to the “full” line.
Take away the drain pan and drive the car for a few minutes, and then give the oil time to settle, around 10 minutes. If the dipstick still says full, it’s all good.
Make sure that you read the car manual for additional instructions. These days it’s pretty easy to change the oil, but there may be a few extra or different steps required for your car, so it’s best to make sure.